It’s the love-fest officially in Kansas City.
After making the first big swap of the 2013 off-season, it appears that Kansas City is already pleasantly surprised with their latest purchase.
According to the Kansas City Star, Quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy said of his newest signal caller, “[Alex Smith] is everything that we though he was. He’s a true professional. He’s in his [playbook] every day. He’s always asking questions, trying to get better. He’s being a leader for the other quarterbacks as well.”
Offensive Coordinator Doug Pederson has also expressed his delight with Smith up to this point—citing his grasp on the team’s terminology and proven ability to run the offense at the line of scrimmage.
“When he’s out here on the practice field, he’s a leader,” said Nagy. “The guys look to him. The quarterback position is so important to be that leader, whether vocally or by your play. He does both of that. Having him be able to do that and to have some of the younger guys look up to him, that’s what we need, and that’s what we expected to have, and he does have that.”
Though Smith is impressing in camp, the key moments will not come until the players put on the pads. New Head Coach Andy Reid and his West Coast Offense are a good fit for the former west coast player. Alex Smith is not known for his arm strength, so the vertical passing game is all but done in KC. Though short to intermediate routes are not sexy—especially in the era of the homerun pass downfield—Smith can break down defenses by controlling a less than sexy passing attack over the middle of the field.
One of his targets, Dwayne Bowe, is already expecting big things from the new-QB. “Just watching Steve Young back in the day, he’s that kind of guy,” said the receiver. “He’s not too vocal about it, but when he’s in the huddle, he makes his presence known. He’s demanding guys speed up—I mean, I never had a quarterback like that.”
Should the Alex Smith experiment fail in Kansas City, it would only be business as usual for a Chiefs organization that has had little success at arguably the most important spot on the field. For an organization that had Len Dawson and Joe Montana lead successful Chiefs teams, the Chiefs have been unable to find a franchise signal caller. Since 2000, the Chiefs have started 10 different quarterbacks—a list that includes familiar names like Warren Moon, Trent Green, Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, and Matt Cassell.
With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Smith is hoping to appease the passionate fan base and bring winning football back to the storied Chiefs franchise for the 2013 season and beyond. He may also be playing with a proverbial “chip on the shoulder,” stemming from a controversial exit in San Francisco last season.
“For me, it’s certainly not something to relax about,” Smith said on being the clear-cut starter in Kansas City. “It’s you know, full-steam ahead. I’m working as hard as I can, trying to push us as far as we can go.”
Despite not playing a snap for the 2-14 Chiefs, NFL experts have been generating some Playoff hype for the 2013 edition of the Kansas City Chiefs. Though it is too early to start projecting wins and losses in June, it is tough to imagine that Smith cannot improve on a two-win campaign. In a division featuring the Peyton Manning led Broncos, Kansas City likely will not contend for the AFC West’s top spot. But with significant play from big name players such as Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, and of course Smith, Kansas City could possibly return to the Playoffs for the first time since their 2010 blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
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